Skating in the Olympics: The Skaters’ Perspective
Illustrations by David Andrés López
To me, skateboarding is all about individuality and originality. It has nothing to do with highest, furthest, longest. Skating being an Olympic sport contradicts everything that I believe skateboarding to be. Skating has always been an intuitive and free path. Go for the gold; follow the yellow-brick road.
Who doesn’t want skateboarding safe, with lots of rules and to be judged? Who cares about style, individuality, creativity and having fun when there are uniforms to be worn and we can call it a household sport that has no grit or rawness left on the court. Sounds like we can all dream of being called athletes now. I’ve always wanted to fit in and abide by rules and be graded on art. The general public also might finally realize how amazing our underground community is and might even make some money off it. Competing against other countries and battling your friends for the gold is brilliant.
I am totally down for the Olympics but you can never box up the radicalness of skateboarding and sell it to the masses. There is so much more to it than what you’ll ever see on TV. But it will be fun to see the high performance side of skateboarding and hear about the parties in the Olympic village.
At this point, what does it matter? Skateboarding doesn’t mean anything but fame and fortune to 90 percent of the kids that pick up a board. There’s no heart, no passion, so what better place than a stadium to showcase that. Fuck it, though, it’d be fun to go and skate with your friends and have the entire world thinking we’ve been training our entire life for that moment when you’re really just doing the same thing you’d be doing if you were skating in the streets any other day.
I’m excited about the opportunity to be able to skate in the Olympics! Whether people like it or not, skateboarding is bound to grow into bigger things like this sooner or later. So, in my eyes, it might as well be now.
The people that like very serious contests like X Games and Street League will do well and like it. The guys who like being in the streets and filming are probably not gonna be into it. I’m not really thinking about it much. I think it’s weird. It’s hard for me. I’m on the fence because I like contests but part of me is asking what’s different about this from skating a regular contest. But another part of me is, like, it’s just way too serious for skateboarding. But I’m not gonna be that bitter old dude who doesn’t accept the change that’s happening in skateboarding. If it’s in the Olympics then it’s in the Olympics. I don’t think Baker dudes will be in the Olympics. You need Indy vs. Tracker. It’s good for the balance of things. I’ll probably watch it.
Skateboarding being in the Olympics was bound to happen. More and more people are starting to skate and it’s non-stop growing as a sport. Street League is damn near the Olympics of competitive skateboarding right now, so it’s not too big of a leap from where we’re already at. If the Olympics is in your lane I think it’s tight. I wouldn’t turn that shit down if I was asked to be a part of it. I think too much negative energy is being put on it, but it’s not going to affect skaters from doing what we’re already doing. Stay in your lane and let skateboarding grow. I’m with it.
Skateboarding should never be part of the Olympics. Fuck the Olympics.
Skating in the Olympics? Am I for it? No, I’m not but it’s not going to affect me, nor will it affect core skaters. I’m psyched for my homies that are gonna be in there because I’m sure they’re gonna get paid out the frame and be on Wheaties boxes. I’m happy for them but skateboarding is not a sport to me. If I had to vote, I would vote for skateboarding to not be in the Olympics but I understand that they are looking for something cool because Olympic sports aren’t that cool anymore. Bobsledding is dope, though!
If King of the Road Japan would be the Olympics event, I think all will be fine.
I don’t have much of an opinion because I don’t really know how it’s going to be. It could be really, really bad or just another contest that’s here and gone like most. As long as the skaters don’t end up doing anything too crazy it won’t change much.
I’m not a big supporter of the idea. It’s probably best that I don’t comment on the Olympics.
I’m not into it but I don’t think it really matters that much. There will always be a whole world of skateboarding that is completely removed from all that competitive jock shit.
Clint WalkerGold jacket, green jacket—who gives a shit?
I’m down with it. I think that it’s gonna be good for skateboarding in general. The uniforms for sure are gonna be suspect and I don’t know who’s gonna pass the drug test. Maybe if I start doing good in some contests I can go. I’ll be 30 by then and I don’t know if I can keep up with the young kids. What’s that kid who’s dad owns the KTR park? Jagger. Yeah, that kid’s gonna be set up perfect for the Olympics.
It’s just part of the natural evolution of playing with a toy or a game. If they can figure out how to score or judge it, then the Olympics probably want it because it’s cool. It’s weird but there’s no way it’s not gonna happen. You’re either gonna be a part of it or get stuck at home watching it. It’s just gonna be another one of those contest but on a bigger platform. If you’re saying, “Fuck the Olympics,” you might as well be saying fuck contests in general. When I first heard skating was going to the Olympics I was sure it was going to a Street League format. But what would be way cooler is if it were longest flat gap, highest ollie and highest air on a quarter pipe. Make it who can air over the most cars, Evel Knievel style. Or make something where they can keep adding stairs to a set and Jaws comes and ollies them all.
I think it’s cool skaters will be able to represent for their countries. But the Olympics will try to turn skateboarding into an organized sport with scoring systems, regulations, coaches, uniforms and drug testing and that’s not what skateboarding is about.
It’s gonna happen regardless. So many people have their own takes on skateboarding. It’s going to bring it to more places around the world and make it bigger. But then if you are into the core skate shit, the Olympics will be irrelevant to you. Skateboarding is going to get bigger either way and I’m just kinda curious to see what happens. It’s gonna be kinda weird but whatever. I don’t even wanna think about the uniforms, man. It’s gonna be really trippy.
All I know is my dad is super stoked on it. He called me and said, “You got four years to train.” I haven’t really thought about it too much but honestly it’s gonna be weird. Because I just can’t grasp the idea of skateboarding in the Olympics. Like, how it’s going to be laid out or whatever. It just doesn’t click for me. Maybe I can use my Jewish heritage and slip in through the Israeli team.
It all depends on who they get in it. Hopefully they give some young people opportunities to make it, you know, flow guys or ams. It’s cool to see young guys go at it. We all know Nyjah is gonna win, but it would be cool if ams get the opportunity. It definitely should be run by skateboarders. I feel like if it’s run by skaters it could work out.
It’s definitely an interesting one. I’m curious about the drug testing thing. Who knows; most people won’t be able to be in it. I guess skateboarding is getting bigger and that’s where it’s going. I guess there will be the Olympians and there will be the guys in the streets doing what they are gonna do. If I get invited I would probably go. The uniforms are another story. I could imagine them being pretty wack. They might as well go all out and give us a tutu.
I don’t care because skateboarding will always be skateboarding to me. If anything, it’s good because as women skaters we now have more contests to go to and travel opportunities. It totally changed snowboarding for the women. Once snowboarding was in the Olympics, women snowboarders were really able to just live off putting out video parts. The more girls who are making a living skateboarding, the more diversity there can be.
I mean, obviously it’s crazy but I think it will be sick. Us skaters are getting a chance to represent our country. It’s gonna be weird and here’s why: so many people are hating on it because no one really knows what’s gonna happen. People think it’s gonna be based off the Street League stuff. But I think it’s sick. If I’m in the 2020 Olympics I’m gonna be going hard for my country. I hope the uniforms are nothing crazy. I hope the USA has got us lookin’ the best. Jamie Foy’s thick ass is gonna be in there too! I’m not trippin’ as long as I get to wear whatever shoes I need to wear.
I think the Olympics is hands down the best thing that can happen to the skateboard industry. If you look at it, everybody wins! Skating in the Olympics brings hundreds of thousands of new people into the skate industry. It would be super rad to compete for our country.
When skateboarding becomes an Olympic sport, the creative aspects of an artistic form of expression could be removed from it. Where are the lost boys going to go if the attraction of creativity in skateboarding is gone?
It’s happening either way. I think it’s going to be good. There will be lots of parks and events coming up that are exciting in skateboarding. You can go to other countries and skate their parks. I see where people are concerned that the wrong people are making up the rules and all that but at the end of the day we are talking about 30 minutes on television. It’s definitely going to change skateboarding and what we know of it. But everything changes and it’s not like we can rewind or anything.
I’m very on the line about it. I just have no idea how they are going to approach it. I’m pretty 50-50 for it right now. I think it will probably be good. It will boost skateboarding and make it better, I guess. If there is an option to try out for it I would do it.
You watch the Olympics and you see things you’ve never even heard of before. I was watching this year and saw this weird handball hockey kinda thing and I was, like, “Oh, they are just throwing it in because they have so many fuckin’ sports.” Imagine the 2028 Olympics. What’s the Chinese team gonna be like? Or some weird country that gets involved in skating just for the Olympics. They play on the weird point system and win the Olympics somehow. It could become a science-fiction world of skateboarding. But the bottom line is it’s going to be a novelty. Not as far as a joke but it’s going to be a freakshow.
Growing up, skateboarding was always the rebellious thing to do, so to see how far it has come and being accepted in everyday life is kind of weird to me. I’ve always viewed and felt that skateboarding is an art form that should not be exploited, especially in something like the Olympics. But if it helps the industry then I can’t complain. I hope each team has to wear leotards like the gymnasts!
To be honest, I think it’s really lame. I know these guys are trying to make it super legit—Street League style or whatnot. If I had it my way, the way skateboarding should be in the Olympics would be long jump, high jump and top speed. Make skateboarding look lame to everyone. There’s gonna be too many parents at the skatepark trying to turn their kids into athletes. Hopefully it brings more money to the guys who don’t get paid much so they get a little more. But I think it’s going to be the select few. I really hope the outfits are super awesome with spandex and big numbers. I would love to be the costume-design guy.
Skateboarding in the Olympics—it’s gonna be weird. It’s not gonna change the way I look at skateboarding and I don’t think it should change anyone else’s views of skateboarding. More people are gonna see it but they aren’t really into skateboarding like the rest of us are. All the people you associate with a certain team, now they are the Brazilians, the Canadians. Skateboarding has always brought everyone together and now the Olympics is spreading them apart.
It’s got everybody really hot ‘n’ bothered. Skating is way too cool in the real world these days and everyone wants to capitalize on it. There’s always been those dudes that treat it like a sport, but there will never be a best skateboarder ever, no matter the medal.
It feels like we’re losing the core part of skateboarding and the punk rock aspect of it. Being 40 years old, I got to see skateboarding in the '80s when it was not cool and not accepted and that made it fun. I'm interested to see how it goes, though. It would be cool if they made a street luge or did something weird with it, even though it'll probably look like Street League or the X Games. It would also be cool if the people that built the courses had to make a commitment to continue using them after the Olympics. Regardless, I wish everybody the best of luck. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing: going on tours with friends and doing the skateboarding that I know. If it’s wack, I’m not gonna let it affect me.
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